Thursday, October 27, 2005

Happy 30th Anniversary

I'm writing today to congratulate our national English daily newspaper, the one and only, The Jordan Times. There were many capable contributors in yesterdays issue felicitating the 30th anniversary [10/26/05], Rami Khoury stands out like a soar thumb, he isn't only well known in the Arab world, he is a world wide celebrity, I'm very proud of him and his achievements in the world of Journalism as a whole, and in his shepherding the Jordan Times while he served as its chief editor. I squeamish every time I hear about an announcement mentioning him as a scheduled a guest on the NPR news or on any of the many western news organization that are constantly going after him seeking his input on current Middle Eastern affairs and on historical references for the region as a whole. I consider Rami Khoury to be the number one authority on all of the social, political as well as the economical changes that are shaping the Middle East as we know it today.


I was touched by the piece written by P.V. Vivekanand, it seems like a very sincere expression of how he actually feels. I'm encouraged by the pieces written by George Hawatmeh and by Rana Gargour especially in light of their nuanced call for the establishment of a second Jordanian English daily-- as the Jordan Times may have already reached its peak in terms of what it can deliver.

I personally have had no affiliation with the Jordan Times other than being a reader and an occasional letter to the editor contributor. I think that my over all judgment is that the paper had somewhat weakened during the past few years.

I remember several years ago, and particularly during George Hawatmeh's tenure, the Jordan Times used to deliver very powerful daily editorial, headlines, and Op-ed pieces.

I used to underline at least a dozen difficult words that I had to look up in order for me to fully comprehend the many poignant high quality reports that used to get published in different sections of the newspaper.

Nowadays, the editorials are usually very poorly written and when they are well written which is very rare, the number of word count doesn't exceed 150 words. Most of the Op-eds are being extrapolated from project Syndicate or Common grounds. There is no reference to big time news wire reports and Op-eds other than perhaps the associated press.

I understand that the Jordan Times has been going through many ups and down since the passing of the late chief editor Abdulla Hasanat, but that shouldn't deter the paper from delivering stunning daily editorial that is reflective of a highly pressing domestic issue such as the national agenda & all of its ramifications.

Perhaps the time is ripe for a second English daily that addresses the more modern technological advances , along with life, art, health, the market, and everything else peripheral to the modern day gizmos, gadgets, bills and whistles.

The Jordan Times no matter what will always be in my mind and in my heart, my special love for it will for ever occupy a small and cozy space in my heart. Thanks to all of those that made it initially happen, and thanks to its current production, editorial, reporters, as well as distribution staff. Go Jordan Times go.

8 comments:

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rami said...

Hello Hatem,

I have been working for JT from summer of 2003 to the last summer, and I think the main problem there is lack of self-motivated and fresh new journalists. People there have been through alot already, and the newspaper is having a hard time finding people to recruit, they always seek to lack something: language skills, journalistic instinct, ...etc. Most new comers are just people who cannot find a job elsewhere!

During the last two years, I've seen more than 30 trainees come and go, only three were employed.

Another difficulty, is money! Despite that the newspaper has been making profit for the last year or two, it doesn't have financial independence, it is completely controlled by the Jordan Press Foundation, which is an extremely bureaucratic firm.

I think that JT was brave to try to add new design. However, the bigger problem remains is that seldom there's even one local story on front page.

Sometimes there are no reporters to report on important events, and the dependency on old-fashioned petra news agency has increased.

I think what JT really need to focus on is its website, it is read by thousands and thousands everyday, and it has alot of profit potential if they know how to make it into a website one would like to subscribet to!

At the end of the day, I am very proud to be a graduate of The Jordan Times, and I hope that it will become much better in the coming few years.

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Hatem Abunimeh said...

Rami,

You are doing a great job and it shows, I like your smooth narration style. I think that the Jordan Times is fortunate to have someone like you. If I were to be the chief editor one day I would hire you on the spot.

Tololy said...

I find myself agreeing with you that the Jordan Times is a leading news portal in the country.
I must say I respect the newspaper's abilities and believe it could yet deliver more, and on a larger scale perhaps.

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